Friday, October 31, 2008
Look who can read!
That's Piglet with some books he checked out of the library yesterday. For about three months now, he's been working on reading from a phonics book that has 128 short lessons in it. Yesterday, he finished up the last lesson, so now he has learned all of his phonics rules and is reading really well.
As a reward, he gets to pick out his own books at the library. He was supposed to get his own library card, too, but his Mommy forgot to take something with our current address on it, and they wouldn't give him one. He was okay with that, though. I let him use my library card to do the self-checkout all by himself, and that was really what he wanted to do.
For those of you interested, we used Alphaphonics. A friend of mine whose oldest children are a few years older than Piglet introduced me to the concept of no-frills phonics books when Piglet was a baby. I think she actually used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but they're both very similar. The concept is that you teach your child all but the most obscure phonics rules in a short period of time, and then your child can read. They still need a lot of practice, of course, but they have the ability to read just about any word you put in front of them, and you can tell them that they officially know how to read. It really builds their confidence.
I have to admit that I did have my doubts a few times. Even after we started this program and it was going really well, I kept seeing phonics programs in homeschooling catalogs that take several years to complete, at well over $100 for each year's materials. I wondered if I could really do it for $30 and in just a few months, but it really did work. We do still need books for him to practice with, but those are free with a library card (provided I actually get them back on time).
I did actually end up buying the 100 Easy Lessons book, too, before I began teaching him to read. I prefer Alphaphonics for several reasons, but I will say that Alphaphonics has very little material for the teacher. 100 Easy Lessons, on the other hand, has a word-for-word script to follow. Anyone who feels like they couldn't teach a child to read without more instruction for themselves would really like 100 Easy Lessons.